Almaden Library and Community Center

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Almaden Library and Community Center

San Jose, CA 2008

Project Description

The Almaden Branch Library and Community Center is the first facility of its kind built in the San Francisco Bay Area, welcoming an average of 4,000 visitors a day. Joining three well-ordered wings around a central lobby, the building accommodates gymnasium and fitness facilities, a dividable community room and a full-service library, as well as dedicated spaces for children, seniors and teens, and for shared activities.

The facility plan was shaped by existing site conditions, which include a stand of large redwood trees, an adjacent elementary school and a park. Among the greatest challenges were developing systems such as permeable concrete paving and special raised grade beams to ensure the viability of the trees’ root systems, and accommodating the building’s large program without compromising the park. The design creates distinct characters for the community center spaces, which orient to the street, as well as the library and childcare center, which face the park. The two come together at the central lobby, with double-height glass walls facing out to the street and into the central courtyard, flanked by a dramatic metal and stone stair tower.

The city was encouraged to include an allowance into the general contractor’s scope, above and beyond the standard 2 percent for public art, to provide for murals by renowned artists Mark Evans and Charley Brown in the children’s library and community room. In the main lobby, visitors are greated by Ray King’s Spectral Cloud, a work that combines hundreds of glass prisms.

Project Details

Architect: Field Paoli Architects; San Francisco, Calif.
Construction Cost: $18.5 million
Square Feet: 65,000
Occupancy: May 2006

Badminton: Porter Athletic Equipment Co.

Basketball Backboards/Supports: Porter Athletic Equipment Co.

Divider Curtains: Porter Athletic Equipment Co.

Lighting: Holophane

Scoreboards/Timing Systems: Daktronics Inc.

Volleyball Nets and Standards: Porter Athletic Equipment Co.

Wall Padding: Porter Athletic Equipment Co.